The Lowdown On Lipomas And Surgery Survival

Colic is a broad term that is often used to indicate any type of abdominal pain, but veterinarians can often determine — or at least narrow down — what is causing the abdominal issue. One common cause of colic, particularly in older equines, is a strangulating lipoma. 

A strangulating lipoma is a benign, fatty tumor on a stalk that can wrap around and strangulate a section of small intestine. There are no good markers to denote a horse that may be at risk of a lipoma other than advancing age. The only repair for this type of colic is surgery.

When the veterinarian has the horse on the table, he or she will prophylactically remove all of the lipomas found in the small intestine and small colon to prevent strangulation in the future. Older horses tend to be more stoic so may not show the intense pain they are in. For this reason, some strangulating lipomas are missed during vet exams. 

It’s imperative that if a horse is suspected to have a strangulating lipoma that he is sent directly to an equine hospital equipped to handle surgery. The idea that older horses don’t handle colic surgery and anesthesia well is a myth, according to EQUUS magazine. Older horses have as good of a chance of survival after colic surgery as younger horses. 

Read more at EQUUS magazine

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